Social gambling could be a US$100bn industry by 2017

23 May 2012

Juniper Research estimates that mobile gambling could reach a global figure of US$100bn by 2017, driven by social gaming and the development of mobile wallets.

The new report from Juniper, ‘Mobile Gambling: Casinos, Lotteries & Betting’, has found that, in five short years, the global figure for wagers made via mobile devices annually could rise from just under US$20bn (2011) to US$100bn.

This increase is expected to stem from a surge in social gambling activity, which has seen some companies adapt to capitalise on this growing market.

“Social gaming companies such as Zynga are seeking to move from play-for-fun casino games into real money gambling, while pure-play mobile casinos, including Probability, have begun to integrate with the Facebook mobile platform,” said Dr Windsor Holden, author of the report. “In this way, consumers will be able to use their social networks to register for casino games, substantially increasing both the reach and engagement of such services.”

Several UK-facing sportsbooks are already seeing around 20pc of online wagers coming from mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets. While sports betting currently accounts for the largest share of mobile gambling, the report predicts that casino gaming will catch up by 2017.

Social media integration and the rise of social gaming has helped these figures along thus far, and the future holds more potential with the increasing deployment of mobile wallets, offering a viable alternative payment method for mobile gamblers.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.